The edition’s cover featured an illustration titled “The 2000 meter gaze” created by artist and war correspondent Thomas Lea in 1944. It depicts an American soldier witnessing the horrors of war.
The image has since been associated with an online meme titled “1000 meter gaze,“Often used as a light-hearted response by users who have seen a social media post and wish to describe it as feeling traumatized or regretting viewing it.
The TikToker alluded to his popularity online and his surprise to see the image in real life, in a caption alongside the video which read: “GO BACK TO THE REALM OF NUMBERS, YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE HERE “.
The upload quickly racked up 4.8 million views and more than 2,500 comments, some of whom wrote that they had no idea the meme was based on a real image and would have been terrified if they saw it. ‘had seen outside their screens. Others seemed suspicious and wondered if the book was actually real. (Book versions with this cover are listed online.)
Other commenters shared similar experiences, where their minds had interpreted real-world items or events from an online perspective.
One user wrote that he was watching a film with subtitles when the phrase “acoustic music” came up and felt like he had “officially lost it”, suggesting that he understood the word in its meaning online – one slang term for “autistic”. Others agreed that they could no longer see the word “acoustic” without reading it the same way.
This seems to be interpreted as “internet brain rot,” which people think is a byproduct of being “chronically online.”
As many commenters have suggested, maybe it’s time to disconnect for a while.